Caffeine overdose

Definition 
This is poisoning from ingestion of caffeine.

Poisonous Ingredient  

     
  • caffeine

Where Found  

     
  • coffee  
  • tea  
  • hot chocolate  
  • chocolate  
  • some soft drinks (such as Pepsi, Coke, Mountain Dew)  
  • NoDoz  
  • Tirend  
  • Quick Pep  
  • Vivarin  
  • Caffedrine  
  • Coffee Break Caplets  
  • Durvitan  
  • Pro-Plus

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Symptoms  
Adults

     
  • body as a whole       o difficulty sleeping       o muscle twitching       o confusion       o in and out of consciousness       o increased urination       o increased thirst       o death       o fever  
  • respiratory       o difficulty breathing  
  • gastrointestinal       o vomiting       o diarrhea  
  • heart and blood vessels       o irregular heartbeat       o rapid heart beat  
  • nervous system       o hallucinations       o dizziness       o convulsions

Infants

     
  • body as a whole       o very tense muscles alternating with overly relaxed muscles  
  • respiratory       o rapid, deep breathing  
  • gastrointestinal       o nausea and/or vomiting  
  • heart and blood vessels       o rapid heartbeat       o low blood pressure       o shock  
  • nervous system       o tremors

Home Treatment  
Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by Poison Control or by a physician.

Before Calling Emergency  
Determine the following information:

     
  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number  
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room  
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

     
  • treatment of symptoms  
  • monitor vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, and so forth)  
  • maintain blood pressure within normal limits  
  • activated charcoal may be given  
  • lavage

Expectations (prognosis) 
The prognosis (probable outcome):
Death may occur following convulsions or irregular heartbeat.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Harutyun Medina, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.